I Like to Move It
May 29, 2015
Actually, I don't like to move it. Exercise does not come naturally to me and procrastination is my default setting when it comes to most things that see me working up a sweat.
I blame school PE entirely. I had very long hair and having to spend cold afternoons with it dripping down my back whilst trying to concentrate is still a vivid memory. As is being made to run across snow covered fields in the shortest of games skirts in the middle of January. If we weren't running across Lake District fields, we were doing sprints along a wet wild and windy seafront. And (as it was the Lake District) the weather didn't improve much in the summer months either. Not being naturally athletic, I always came close to last and was often horribly mocked by the more able members of my year group.
However, the one sporting activity I did enjoy was ice skating. Weekly lessons and practice sessions were a real highlight of my week and strangely the cold didn't seem to bother me. It helped that I wasn't in competition with anyone - it was a solo activity and however well or badly the lesson went, the only person giving me a hard time was me. Unfortunately my migration down south with the nearest rink being nearly fifty miles away put paid to the only exercise I think I've ever really enjoyed.
I also held the belief that losing weight was more about monitoring and controlling what you ate and drank, rather than shedding the pounds by burning calories through exercise. In my teens and twenties I managed to stay trim by eating very little, drinking a little more than was probably good for me, and lots of dancing in night-clubs (four hours a night, four or five times a week). Looking back I'm sure the endless clubbing did stand me in good stead in terms of not piling on the pounds. I was not a round-the-handbag-shuffler.. mine was full-on-floorshow dancing with gusto. Having checked on the WLR database and taking the average between moderate and vigorous I'm amazed that it burns 100 calories in 30 minutes. Given that I was barely off the dance floor between 9pm and 1:30am I calculate that four-nights-a-week burned off around 3600 calories. Which goes some way to explain why my waist measure stayed happily static for just over a decade.
Fast forward and now, even if I wanted to, there is no way I could stay up until 2am five nights a week and if I did, I would almost certainly be found sitting in the corner rather than strutting my stuff on the dance floor and I'm pretty certain that I wouldn't be able to boogie for any more than thirty minutes now, even if I wanted to! However, my fondness for music and the fact that somewhere deep in my DNA I like to dance means that whilst I don't like to move it, I make myself move it and I've discovered that 30 minutes on my rebounder with some great disco classics really does make me work up a sweat and definitely ticks the move more box. It isn't pretty and I would never do it in a public place, but in the privacy of my living room it serves its purpose.
I also have a workout DVD that I use regularly. It's ten years old now and every year I acquire newer DVDs for the purposes of a home workout - but none of them have ever suited me as well as my old faithful. It isn't because it's easy - it has 'easy', 'hard(ish)', 'difficult' and 'downright impossible' options so I always work up a sweat when doing it - and I keep doing it because I don't hate it.
Teenage angst and trauma from organised PE lessons at school means that, no matter how many times I give it a go, I will never enjoy running (although a good number of my friends took it up as a means to lose a bit of weight and are now devoted 10K and half-marathon runners). And I guess that's the point. Exercise is a very personal thing. I read the story of a successful slimmer who discovered that he loved Kayaking. It wouldn't be my choice (as being cold and wet is too much like being at school for me - which is probably why I dislike swimming too); but exercise is an entirely personal choice. Finding a form exercise that you can commit to on a regular basis can make a massive difference in terms of shifting the pounds and seeing the number on the scale go down more quickly than just by controlling your food and drink intake. There are so many different options out there - the trick is to find one that you can enjoy (or if that's a stretch too far (pun intend) at least not hate).
I'm not sure I'll ever find an activity I enjoyed as much as figure skating but, if I'm being honest, if a rink opened in town next week I would go - to sit and watch! Too many years have passed and my now-older bones are too brittle to withstand the inevitable rough-and-tumble of putting on skates again, but I have managed to find some forms of move it that work for me. Dancing; my workout DVD; long brisk walks with lovely husband… I may not like to but I do move it